Mar 01, 2013 News
– denies Marriott employees are Chinese convicts – contractor
Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), the contractor involved in the building of the US$51M construction of the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, yesterday said that it employed no local workers because of a building technique that is new to Guyana.
The company in a statement provided to Kaieteur News called for “fair reporting” on the construction which has generated much controversy, and said that so far the construction workers on site are “mainly highly experienced construction workers from China.”
“During the beginning phase, we were undergoing the piling works, because SCG Caribbean applied bored concrete piling technique which is a newly piling technique based on Guyana market, hence we have not yet employed local workers. And in the structure construction period, moreover, it is high building structure in Guyana, for safety and tight construction period’s sake; we postponed plans to recruit local workers. (sic)”
SCG said it is now planning to recruit “some local skilled, qualified, law-abiding workers and to contract some local sub-contractors. SCG Caribbean could offer necessary job training for these workers.”
With the entire feasibility of the project under question, an investigative report by Kaieteur News a few weeks ago found that no local workers were involved in the current phase of that multi-million US dollar project. It triggered several protests, including from unions, at the worksite and at the Chinese Embassy.
Government has said that language barrier and a lack of skills locally had prompted SCG to exercise its “discretion” to use labour from China. Government had argued that SCG had the discretion as the contractor to hire its own workforce.
SCG yesterday in its statement said that it won the contract, in October 2011, from international bidding and tendering process launched by Atlantic Hotel Incorporated (AHI), the government-owned company that is managing the entire project.
It was given a timeline of 24 months with construction starting on August 17th, 2012. The whole project is expected to be completed by August of next year.
Locally, “SCG is using BK International for concrete and blocks …15,000 cubic meters of concrete, 250,000 blocks; 500 cubic meters of lumber from Gafoors; 1,500 tons of gravel and 2,500 cubic meters of yellow sand gravel from Toolsie Persaud Limited; 1,000 tons of cement from TCL; six security from Bransford Security Service, and garbage service from Cevons Waste every week”.
“We believe that our project has actually contributed to a better enhanced local employment situation,” the construction company said.
A report earlier this week questioning whether SCG was using Chinese convicts as part of its labour force was also dismissed by the contractor who said it was a ridiculous and irresponsible accusation.
China’s laws just simply do not allow citizens serving sentences to leave that country, the statement stressed.
“All the Chinese workers engaged in the project have clean police records and all of them on the Georgetown Marriott have work permits and multiple-visas to allow them to legally work in Guyana up to the end of the project.”
TOEING THE LINE
SCG also said it is carrying out its operations in accordance with the local laws and regulations.
“We are committed to building a modern high-end hotel service to the Guyana people. SCG is pleased to nurture an amicable interaction with local media and welcomes fair and objective coverage on the work of SCG based on facts.”
Since being announced, the Marriott Hotel met with resistance with local hoteliers who wanted to know why government was investing in a private sector project.
In 2011, without knowing who the investors were, government through AHI, released US$10M ($2B) to SCG. Last month, more than one year after releasing that sum, government admitted it still has not closed the deal with the investors.
Then, in shocking disclosures, they said last week that it is the intention to sell the government’s stake in the hotel once it is up and running.
The National Assembly has not given its blessings for the project as the taxpayers’ dollars being used are controlled by NIC
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